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Teaching Your Child About Racism

Posted by in Home: Parenting  ~  June 05, 2012 05:31:44 PM

Many people feel that racism is something that should be avoided until a child is of a certain age. I feel that racism is important the first time the child either experiences it or witnesses it. It should not be avoided just because a child is a certain age. The best opportunity to teach a child about racism is the first time that they are exposed to it. It is the perfect time to point out the pain it caused, or the horrible feelings it produced. It is also the perfect opportunity to point out the flaws in racist thoughts. This is a vital function as a parent.

Children are remarkably intelligent where things like this are concerned, and there is a good chance they will learn it from their school mates if not from you. What would you prefer? Do you think that you should take the time to explain it to them, or should you let them learn it from another child that may have views opposite of your own? The answer to this question is simple of course, but it makes a good point. How many of our children are influenced by others long before we get around to doing our jobs? The number would likely horrify us all.

The right choice is to be pro-active and honest with your children. Pretending that racism does not exist is absolutely the wrong answer, just as crippling your child with the excuse of racism is wrong. Regardless of which side of a racist world you live in, you should educate your child about what the world is really like. You do not need to use specific, scary details with a young child. Instead, explain that there are bad people out there that judge people based upon the color of their skin. Answer their questions, and allow them to explore what it means.

Spend plenty of time explaining the heroes of the fight against racism. Tell them about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Make sure they understand the fight against slavery, and the way it affects our world today. Every child should have a working knowledge of the dangers of our world. Make sure your child knows what is out there, and what to do in a bad situation. This is not only for those children that are at risk of racist behavior. The people who are not in the minority in a given area should also be taught about what is right and wrong. Without this, we are destined to live in a world of racism with all the ugliness it brings to our relationships and lives.

Racism is not something that will go away on its own. We need to reeducate ourselves and our children about racism and what it does to our world. This is not about whites versus blacks alone anymore. Racism extends to many races, and is just as ugly regardless of the color of the minority in a given area. Teach your children to change the world, and we might just have a fighting chance at a more noble and just future.